Detroit Police and the Department of Justice are pledging to drop violent crime in the northeast and northwest parts of the city.
During the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, if a felon is caught with a gun inside one of the target zones it’ll now be tried as a federal crime.
In a partnership announced Monday, U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison says the response will be highly targeted – mostly in areas in the 8th and 9th precincts.
“This office collaborates with our local state and federal partners to use evidence-based strategies to identify the drivers of violence, the most violent people, the most violent groups and the most violent places.”
“We’re always gonna look out to save our Black and brown babies in the city, but we also want a higher quality of life where we feel safe, where we’re not worried about our kids being shot unnecessarily because of recklessness, because of a criminal intent.” —Sandra Turner-Handy, president of the 9th Precinct’s community relations council
Over the weekend, an 11-year-old girl was shot and killed after someone fired into a home during a sleepover in the city’s 9th police precinct, one of the target areas for the Safe Neighborhoods Initiative.
According to Detroit Police, violent crime has dropped by a quarter this year over last. Shootings and murders spiked during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 with similar levels in 2021.
Sandra Turner-Handy, president of the 9th Precinct’s community relations council, says something has to be done to stop the violence.
“We’re always gonna look out to save our Black and brown babies in the city, but we also want a higher quality of life where we feel safe, where we’re not worried about our kids being shot unnecessarily because of recklessness, because of a criminal intent.”
Illegal gun possession has been the focus of the Detroit Police Department for the past two years, with officers arresting people who are not licensed for concealed carry.
Under this program, felons who possess guns will be prosecuted in federal court and subject to harsher punishment.
According to the Justice Department’s own website, tougher punishments do not serve as a deterrent to crime.
Ison has this message for armed felons.
“What we have to ask them to tell the members of their community: Put your guns down. Put your guns down because if you don’t the feds are coming.”